In a series of gatherings held at the University of Oxford, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met senior theology scholars and faith and government leaders (22-25 November). He was accompanied by his wife Sister Patricia T. Holland.
The discussion included Elder Holland’s emphasis on the Book of Mormon, regarded by Latter-day Saints as scripture that contains, along with the Bible, the actual words of Jesus Christ, “I, for one, would feel to walk on hot lava and chew broken glass if I could find a document, any document anywhere, containing any new words of Christ – 50 words, 20 words, one new word from the Son of God – let alone hundreds of pages that record the appearance, teachings, covenants and counsel He gave to a heretofore unknown audience.”
Elder Holland was also one of four key presenters to address the topic ‘Inspiring Service’, part of a distinguished panel chaired by Revd. Dr. Teal, on how Christian doctrine can be translated into Christian practice as we serve one another.
Addressing a capacity multifaith audience at Pembroke College, Elder Holland joined Rt. Hon. and Most Revd. Lord Rowan Williams who served for ten years as Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England’s most senior clergyman. Lord Williams is now a member of the House of Lords and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge University. The other two prominent panelists were Professor Lord David Alton, Roman Catholic Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the House of Lords; and leading Methodist minister, Revd. Professor Frances Young.
Elder Holland said, “Acts of Christian service are expressions of Christian love. Humankind needs our heart and needs our helping hand.”
He emphasized, “We identify too little with good character and too much with good things. The concept that we should place ourselves at the service of others and the service of the common good and the service of the weakest, the poorest, the most vulnerable, gives form and expression to the desire of the virtuous citizen to generously and altruistically use their privileges and their talent in the inspired service of others.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was the main speaker at Pembroke College’s Nine Lessons and Carols service held in the ornate and historic Damon Wells Chapel (completed in 1732), where he delivered a powerful Christmas message. Warmly welcoming Elder Holland to the chapel, Revd. Dr. Teal thanked him for his “apostolic embassy and friendship.”
As the oldest English-speaking university in the world, the University of Oxford enjoys a rich religious heritage. Theology was first taught there over 800 years ago, and the institution has been printing Bibles for many centuries.